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Problem Solving
Study Tips:
  • Devote the time to learn how to do the problem rather then getting to the final answer. Students who simply memorize how to do problems instead of understanding the reasons for correctly working the steps will face more difficulty down the road.
  • See if you can solve a sample problem without looking at the textbook's solution (unless you get stuck). This makes the best use of sample problems, as students who "understood the lecture" or "read the chapter" often have difficulty doing their first problems using this new-found knowledge.
  • Draw a picture when you can. Even a poor drawing can be helpful but good ones include parameters, formulas, units, unknowns, and assumptions.
  • Double-check all diagrams and calculations.
  • If you can't solve a problem, put it aside and try again later.
  • Ask yourself if the answer you got seems reasonable.
  • Try working out at least five new problems each time you study. The true test for determining if you know the material is to do a problem you have never done or seen before.
  • Study with others. When you work alone and get stuck, you may be tempted to give up. When in a group, you can help each other learn.
Biology Forums - Study Force How-To Tips:
  • Examine a step-by-step solution to figure out where you exactly you got stuck. If you need further explanation, ask a question about your problem on the Answer Board.
  • Check your answers for which the answer is not available in the back of your textbook. This may be the even-numbered or odd-numbered problems. Checking your answers can build confidence and help you prepare for tests.
  • Look for errors in the work done by members or experts. As you read each step, verify to yourself it is completely correct. Otherwise, challenge the solution or post your answer on the Answer Board. Questioning a step or final answer is a positive learning sign. Whether indeed the solution is right or wrong, you're learning.
  • Test your knowledge and problem solving skills by helping members on the Answer Board. Teaching others how to do a problem is the most effective way to learn it.